HumanInsight Demonstration experiment of telemedicine using ultrasonography and telerehabilitation with 5G communication system in aging and depopulated mountainous area
Digit Health. 2022 Oct 13;8:20552076221129074. doi: 10.1177/20552076221129074. eCollection 2022 Jan-Dec.
OBJECTIVE: The challenges of an aging population worldwide are the increased number of people needing medical and nursing care and inadequate medical resources. Information and communication technologies have progressed remarkably, leading to innovations in various areas. 5G communication systems are capable of high-capacity, high-speed communication with low latency and are expected to transform medicine. We aimed to report a demonstration experiment of telerehabilitation and telemedicine using a mobile ultrasound system in a depopulated area in a mountainous terrain, where 32% of the population are 65 years or older.
METHODS: At the core hospital, a physician or physical therapist remotely performed ultrasonography or rehabilitation on a subject in a clinic. Five general residents participated in the telerehabilitation as subjects. The delay time and video quality transmitted with 5G and long-term evolution (LTE) communication systems were compared. The physician or physical therapist subjectively evaluated the quality and delay of the transmitted images and subject acceptability.
RESULTS: Of seven physical therapists, six and three responded that the video quality was "good" for telerehabilitation with 5G/4K resolution and LTE, respectively. Five physical therapists and one physical therapist reported that the delay time was "acceptable" with 5G/4K resolution and LTE, respectively. For telemedicine using a mobile ultrasound system, the responses for 5G were "the delay was acceptable" and "rather acceptable." In contrast, both respondents' responses for LTE were "not acceptable."
CONCLUSIONS: Multiple high-definition images can be transmitted with lower latency in telerehabilitation and telemedicine using mobile ultrasound imaging systems with a 5G communication system. These differences affected the subjective evaluation of the doctors and physical therapists.
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